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How far did the First World War transform key areas of social and economic life in Britain?

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PART B How far did the First World War transform key areas of social and economic life in Britain? As well as the high death toll Britain had economic and social problems. Economic changes due to the First World War helped diminish the role of Britain in international trade. Britain also begun to grow heavily in debt, due to the payments of the war. To help pay these debts Britain sold off foreign assets and borrowed heavily both at home and abroad. The increased size of national debt had an inflationary effect in Britain. The problems of wartime finance forced Britain off the gold standard, under which the value of the pound had been linked to gold. The distortion of the economy meant that the war stimulated industries such as engineering, chemicals and shipbuilding, which had a direct relevance to the needs of the armed forces, unlike other industries such as textiles. Disruption of the export trade was a problem for Britain during the war as staple industries relied heavily on exporting, but due to the war their old markets such as Russia, the Far East and elsewhere was closed to them. ...read more.


In 1918, women over the age of 30 were given the right to vote and in 1928, this was changed so that all women had equal political rights with men. As women started working many things changed for them. Women started doing all the things that men might have done, go to pubs, restaurants, dances and theatre. Hair and skirts got shorter as a result of factory work, however these things were seen to make working harder. As women took over the running of the country many other things changed. Women were allowed into the police force and they had their very own police service. This service would supervise goings on at music halls, cinemas, railway stations and parks. With all the demands of working in factories fashion changed to co-inside with the type of work they would be doing. Long skirts would have got in the way so they were shortened and as the war finished this was restored. The petticoat was lost and hats were made smaller. Throughout the war the government, as a way to get men to conscript, used women. Women were encouraged to have nothing to do with men who didn't do their 'duty', but instead encourage those who did. ...read more.


Soon the government controled the whole of the economy. The first world war saw the expansion of the empire to its maximum territorial extent, as territory was taken from the german and turkish empires and added to the british. The war affected the psychology of the whole nation in some degree, the combatants most of all but also their families at home. I deas about war began to change. It brough a more realistic view to the British people about what modern warfare involved. The war also created a term called ' the lost generation' this applied to the people who perished in the war but to those who were permanetly aliented and disoriented by it. Many things changed because of the war either for better or for worse, many things had to change for a chance of success. Britain engaged its resources sensibly but was still stretched to find enough of everything to win. Women played a major role in the war effort and their help back home was just as important as those on the front line. Clearly 1914-1918 saw momentous economic changes. The economy was radically reoriented for the efficient prosecution of the war: there could, therefore, be no easy or quick return to satisfy peacetime needs. ...read more.

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